Juneteenth

A journey through American Black Music

A virtual Opera Bytes performance

June 15th, 2021

Hold on                                                                                                                                                 Arr. Wanye Bucknor+

                                                                  Sierra Hammond, Soprano*

My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord                                                                                                       Florence Price

                                                                Kenisha Phillips, Soprano*

Strange Fruit                                                                                                               Billie Holiday/ Arr. James Dargan+

                                                                     James Dargan, Baritone

A Tisket, A Tasket                                                                                                Arr. Ella Fitzgerald and Van Alexander

                                                          Diamond Geneva Thomas, Soprano*

Freedom Song                                                                                                                                            Eddie Charlton+

                                                                                Ensemble

I Am Moses from Harriet Tubman                                                                                                            Nkeiru Okoye+

                                                            Dr.  Iris Fordjour- Hankins, Soprano*

Lift Every Voice and Sing                                                                    James Weldon Johnson/ Arr. James Dargan+

                                                               Sierra Hammond, Soprano

                                                          Jacqueline Willis, Mezzo Soprano*

                                                                  Jonathan Douglass, Tenor

                                                                   James Dargan, Baritone

 

*denotes Huntsville-based performer, +denotes living composer

Performers

Composers/ Arrangers

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Sierra Hammond

Curator and Soprano 

Sierra Hammond

Curator and Soprano 

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Kenisha Phillips

Soprano 

Kenisha Phillips

Soprano 

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James Dargan

Baritone

James Dargan

Baritone, Arranger

- Strangre fruit

- Lift every Voice and Sing

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Diamond Geneva Thomas

Soprano

Diamond Geneva Thomas

Soprano

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Dr. Iris Hankins

Soprano

Dr. Iris Hankins

Soprano 

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Jacqueline Willis

Mezzo Soprano

Jacqueline Willis

Mezzo Soprano

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Jonathan Douglas

Tenor

Jonathan Douglass

Tenor

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Florence Price

Composer

Florence Price

Composer

- My Souls Been Anchored in the Lord

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Dr. Wayne Bucknor

Collaborative Pianist

Dr. Wayne Bucknor

Collaborative Pianist and Arranger

- Hold On

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Eddie Charlton

Composer

Eddie Charlton

Composer

- Freedom Song

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Ella Fitzgerald

Composer

Ella Fitzgerald

Composer

- A Tisket a tasket

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Dr. Nkeiru Okoye

Composer

Dr. Nkeiru Okoye

Composer

- I am Moses, The Liberator

Hold On

Noah, Noah let me come in. Doors all faste'n and the windows pinned. 

Keep your hand on that plow, Hold on. 

Noah said you done lose your track, can't plow staight and keepa lookin' back

Keep your hand on that plow, Hold on. 

Hold on, Hold on. Keep your hand on that plow and Hold on. 

Mary had a golden chain, every link spelt my Jesus' name. 
Keep your hand on that plow, Hold on. 

Keep on plowin' and don't you tire. Every rung goes higher and higher. 

Keep your hand on that plow, Hold on. 

Hold on, Hold on. Keep your hand on that plow and Hold on

If you wanna get to heaven to heaven well I'll tell ya how. Just keep your hand on that gospel plow. 

Keep your hand on that plow, Hold on. 

And if that plow stays in ya hand, lead you straight to that gospel land. 

Keep your hand on that plow, Hold on. 

Hold on, Hold on. Keep your hand on that plow and Hold on
 

My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord

In de Lord, in de Lord
My soul's been anchored in de Lord
Befo' I'd stay in hell one day
My soul's been anchored in de Lord;
I'd sing an' pray myself away
My soul's been anchored in de Lord
I'm goin' to pray an' never stop
My soul's been anchored in de Lord;
Until I've reached the mountain top
My soul's been anchored in de Lord

Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swingin' in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin' from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulgin' eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burnin' flesh
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather
For the wind to suck
For the sun to rot
For the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

A-tisket a-tasket

A-tisket a-tasket
A green-and-yellow basket
I bought a basket for my mommie
On the way I dropped it
I dropped it, I dropped it
Yes, on the way I dropped it
A little girlie picked it up
And took it to the market
She was truckin; on down the avenue
Without a single thing to do
She was peck, peck, peckin; all around
When she spied it on the ground
A-tisket a-tasket
She took my yellow basket
And if she doesn't bring it back
I think that I shall die
No, no, no, no
(Was it brown?) No, no, no, no
(Was it blue?) No, no, no, no
Just a little yellow basket

Freedom Song

We won't rest till freedom comes

Because Black Lives Matter, yes Black Lives Matter. 

We won't rest till freedom comes

We won't rest till justice comes

Because Black Lives Matter, yes Black Lives Matter. 

We won't rest till justice comes

Don't give up because things get tough.

Because Black Lives Matter, yes Black Lives Matter. 

Don't give up because things get tough.

I am Moses, the Liberator

I am Moses the Liberator. Moses the Liberator

You keep on going or die.

When I took on the role of liberatior, I said to myself.

There's one of two things I have a right to,

One of those things, My liberty or my death.

If I cannot have one, I would have the other.

For no man shall take me alive.

I am Moses, stealer of slaves. 

I stole my mother, father, cousins, borhters.

We do not turn back.

We've come this far and now you're scared? You're scared.

Well, well, well, well.

I'll hold my revolver to the space between your...

Dogs yet baying in the midnight air.

Patterrollers footsteps closing in. What's it gonna be now?

Dead negroes tell no tales.

You keep on going or die. Keep on going. Keep on going.

If you're tired, Keep on going; and if youre scared, keep on going.

If you're hungry keep on going.

If you want to taste freedom, keep on going.

Set your mind to freedom and the promised land.

We shall be free, just like in the scriptures, free indeed.

We shall be free, free, free.

I want to be free. We shall, be free.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is won
Stony the road we trod
Bitter the chastening rod
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died
Yet with a steady beat
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered
Out from the gloomy past
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast
God of our weary years
God of our silent tears
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way
Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light
Keep us forever in the path, we pray
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee
Shadowed beneath Thy hand
May we forever stand
True to our God
True to our native land
Our native land